Weekly roundup

A monster is finally put down
While no fan of Clarkson, I was somewhat neutral in the whole fracas I’d rather not seem him go just to placate the Mary Whitehouse brigade. But on the other hand, you can’t have one set of rules for one group of people and another for the rest. Clearly, given the facts Clarkson had to go

…unless of course you think its okay to issue a 20 minute bigoted rants and then physically assault a co-worker because you can’t get a steak….even tho that’s largely his own fault for taking a helicopter to the pub and keeping said helicopter waiting (with the meter as it were running at the license fee payers expense) for hours while he got sloshed.

Hence, I’m increasingly of the view that the BBC boss made the right call. And I’m referring to those idiotic petitions or even death threats against BBC management. These suggest that Clarkson has managed to amass a cult of personality that would put Kim Jung-un to shame. There’s an old show biz saying that when the star becomes bigger than the show, either he has to go or the show must go.

And making outrageous prima-donna demands is apparently quite a common occurrence for Clarkson. Just read the list of things he insists be supplied in his personal wank area “Green Room”. Clearly the guy has an ego that’s bigger than the Graf Zepplin and like the Zepplin it needs deflating.

So on the whole, yes its good that he’s gone. A monster that was beginning to grow bigger than the Beeb itself has been put down. Here’s hoping the other broadcasters aren’t dumb enough to put him on air again, although I suspect that with dollar signs in their eyes they’ll find it all too tempting.

When drugs were legal….last week!
A quirk of legal fate this month led to the defacto legalisation in Ireland of many so-called “legal highs” as well as drugs such as crystal meth and Ketamine. This came about due to a legal challenge which argued (successfully) that as there hadn’t been any proper electoral due process, just a knee jerk ban due to scary tabloid headlines, the ban on these substances wasn’t constitutional. When the court agreed, this in effect legalised said drugs, although within 24 hrs the Irish parliament had rushed through legislation banning them again.

Needless to say the story attracted much press attention worldwide, notably this piece on US television.

Now if we believe the anti-drug puritans they’d have you believe that such an event would open the gates of hell as everyone rushed off to get wasted. Did this happen? Did Ireland engage in a 24 hr drug fuelled bender? Well no, not really.

Now I’m not suggesting these drugs are safe, legal or otherwise. I mean cigarettes are legal, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many good reasons not to smoke, ditto for alcohol. But part of the problem is that the classification systems for drugs tends to be set by tabloid headlines and pressure groups rather than anything based on actual scientific evidence or the harm they actually cause.

Also I would argue that drugs and alcoholism are more symptoms of wider social problems in some parts of society rather than the problem itself. If a sizeable proportion of society feel the need to anaesthetise themselves regularly with large quantities of narcotics (legal or otherwise), this says that there’s something very wrong with society. Banning drugs is merely a attempt to hide the problem, but there ain’t smoke without fire. Tackling these social problems seems to me a better solution than increasingly draconian drug laws, that many users will just ignore anyway!

Tory NHS fantasies
The election campaign proper and already the Tory’s are telling all sorts of porkies (nice one from Cassette boy here). Take the Tory’s promise of seven days a week NHS service. This has been met with much scepticism by those I know working within the NHS. Indeed, all it seems to have done is guarantee that 1.4 million people (i.e. everyone who works in the NHS) won’t be voting Tory.

The problem is that the NHS has been suffering for years from chronic underfunding and is drastically understaffed. While the government will point to year on year increases in budget, its worth remembering that once you factor in inflation, an ageing population and a growing population that this amounts to a budget cut in real terms. Much of the NHS does work seven days a week, often as this is the only way of clearing large backlogs. Bringing in the sort of service Cameron is talking about is simply not possible with present staffing levels and funding, so unless he is planning on drastically increasing the NHS budget his plan is a non-starter from day one.

And we’re not talking small change here, a 30% increase in service hours for those services not already seven days a week is going to require a substantial amount of cash. Keep in mind the Tories are prosperously suggesting that this can be done with a mere £2 billion a year, against a current NHS budget of £96 billion a year….a mere 2% increase, that probably won’t pay for the extra cups of coffee overworked consultants will drink.

And where are those staff going to come from? Its not as if we’ve got hundreds of thousands of doctors and nurses sitting on the dole waiting to be hired? One assumes they’d have to come from abroad, which means ditching any of the Tories immigration targets as far as health care workers and students are concerned.

Again I’m not saying, nor are NHS staff suggesting, that services shouldn’t be seven days a week, its just that such a policy is impossible without the Tories ditching several other manifesto commitments.

Furthermore what this story highlights is that the Tory plan for the campaign is basically – make shit up and throw more BS the British people’s way than a farmer sees from a herd of diuretic bovine. He knows that the right wing press, terrified of both labour and UKIP will back him all the way, he’s wriggled out of any head to head debate clashes, so its not as if he’s going to get found out.

Ladettes day
Traditionally “ladies day” at Aintree has been one of those key events in the social calendar of the well heeled. Where ladies dress up in their finery and prance around a race course in their best dress…through the mud in high heels with a parasol, trying not to distract the men from the import business of drinking and betting on horses…..or something!

Well times have changed a bit. It seems the Ladettes and hen parties of the TOWIE generation have taken ladies day and started turning it into a booze fest. Apparently the race organisers are so embarrassed at the antics they’ve been trying to ban cameras and stop the newspapers publishing photos of it. I’d make the pun about the place “going to the dogs” but I don’t want to upset the horses…..they’ve already got a long face :no:

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3 thoughts on “Weekly roundup

  1. did you watch benefit tenants on TV? i watched 1 episode and these poor people could only be housed in HMO’s in Brum at 100 pound a week (DWP would only pay 86 so 14 would have to come out of their 70 quid a week jsa or whatever).. it is so distressing to watch this in the 6th richest country in the world. the business guy would only take housing benefit tenants as they could get more money that way than private lets so were willing to forego deposits and stupid ref checkes etc.

    Now one guy realised it was a bit of rip off he had been kicked out family home where 3 bedroomed council house cost 86 a week – so how does the tax payer benefit from paying these “social landlords” instead of providing homes for the people born in this country by building council houses?

    No one in their right mind should vote Tory or Labour – these parties have truly failed at a very basic level. I’m glad to see people in Scotland are the first to see the light! and ready for an SNP landslide.

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    • You referring to the Beeb show? Or is there something else on C4/ITV? End of term madness, not really been watching much TV.

      Either way, the property market in the UK is a mess. The Tories seem to have created a system designed to make it all too easy for rogues to exploit both renters and local councils.

      There’s an urgent need to completely revamp the whole system, no more of this “right to buy”, rental controls, a tax of say 1-2% per year on the value of all property portfolios (to drive away the spiv’s and speculators) with the cash spent on council houses, a tenants rights bill, etc.

      Just talk to someone from Germany and France about all the rights they have how they always get the deposit back and anything breaks it gets fixed pronto. There are council blocks in Germany that have world heritage site status.

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